Different projectors are designed for different uses. Whether you’re hosting a moving night or leading a business meeting, a big-screen projector with vivid color output leaves a lasting impression. For movie aficionados and gamers, a projector offers a larger screen size on a reasonable budget, particularly in comparison to a flat-panel display. For business professionals, a projector is a flexible tool for sharing presentations with any size audience.
Selecting the right projector from a crowded field of models with a wide range of prices, features and capabilities can be a daunting task. Unlike most televisions, a projector’s performance is impacted by the room’s environment and the type of screen that the projector is paired with. To obtain the highest-quality picture — whether you’re using your projector for leisure or business — you’ll need the appropriate type of projector for your particular use case.
How do you plan to use the projector?
Most projectors are divided into four categories based on their use cases. These categories include:
- Pocket: A pocket, or pico, projector is an ultra-portable projector that is often used as a substitute for a computer monitor or small television that you can take on the go.
- Multimedia: A multimedia projector is the largest category of projectors because they’re designed for general purposes. A multimedia projector can be used for everything from presenting a PowerPoint to displaying videos and slideshows at events.
- Home Theater: A true home theater projector, as opposed to a multimedia projector, features a higher-quality image for large-screen viewing and a quiet fan for reduced background noise.
- Large Venue: Large-venue projectors are often labeled under multimedia projectors because they’re a versatile solution for lecture halls, movie theaters, houses of worship, and stadiums. These projectors traditionally weigh more than a home theater projector and feature a high-quality lens system.
What type of room will you use the projector in?
Suppose movie night usually takes place in a dedicated home theater room, or you want to have a cinematic experience to see all of the finest details in your favorite thriller. In that case, you’ll want to consider a higher-end home theater projector that features a high contrast ratio and an exceptional lens system. If you’re looking for a projector for a living room or den that will also display movies, shows, and sports during the day, the performance becomes more critical as trying to display a high-quality picture in a bright room while still having a high-quality picture in the evenings when there isn’t as much light becomes more of a challenge.
Today’s projectors can deliver a wondrous viewing experience in a variety of lighting conditions. The key is the projector’s brightness output, which is usually listed in lumens.
- For home theater settings where ambient light is low, select a model with 2,000 to 2,400 lumens.
- For classrooms and conference rooms, a high-brightness model with more than 3,000 lumens is an ideal choice.
What screen type and size do you want to use?
There are a few basic screen types, including fixed-frame, retractable and free-standing screens. The two most common screen types are fixed-frame and retractable. A fixed-frame screen requires a large section of empty wall space because it is wall-mounted, while a retractable screen can roll up into a case when not in use.
The larger the screen size, the more light output a projector needs to produce to create a well-saturated image. The most popular screen sizes range from 100 inches to 120 inches diagonally, but the size of the screen should depend on the size of the room. A screen that is too large for its setting will be difficult for viewers to see in its entirety.
The screen material also plays a critical role in the projector’s display output. Screen gain, which is the amount of light that is reflected back to you, varies based on the material used. The type of screen material needed often hinges on the light control in the specific room where the projector is being used.
Whether you’re looking to add a projector to your home theater room or your corporate meeting space, provides many options for versatile, high-quality projectors.